New organizational structure in Procurement Services seeks to improve Strategic Sourcing service to customers

September 7, 2011

A new organization structure in Procurement Services is effective immediately. Improved customer service and deeper product and vendor expertise are the goals of this new structure.

The new structure will support the Strategic Sourcing commitment by aligning teams to support all aspects of sourcing specific commodity groups. The commodity focus will provide each sourcing project with long-term ownership as well as opportunities to improve procurement efficiencies and develop product expertise within the sourcing staff, and the focus extends to the payment teams for Accounts Payable and Travel. An organizational chart is available at Procurement Services Organization Chart.

As a result of last year’s Sustaining New Synergies Task Force process, three managers will lead sourcing teams with definitive commodity ownership. The new structure clarifies the business contacts in the department for Strategic Sourcing, Contracting, and Data and Systems.

This new commodity-based focus will more adequately support major sourcing efforts. Procurement will also continue to process daily purchase orders, issue request for proposals (RFPs), obtain quotes from vendors, negotiate pricing and contracts, and serve as a liaison between supplier and client. Each group will provide the ability to conduct data analysis on products, vendors and the market, lead a cross-University collaborative commodity group in the review, develop a sourcing strategy and approach, and recommend the action.

The recommendations for sourcing will be provided to Jim Almond, senior vice president for business services and assistant treasurer, and to the Procurement Council, a cross-University group which will provide feedback on these sourcing initiatives. A commodity listing with the new assignments can be found on the Procurement Services website under the Buying Tab/Goods and Services. In addition to the three sourcing teams, non-commodity Contracts and Accounts Payable and Travel serve important roles in the procure-to-pay process for goods and services purchased by Purdue.

“This new structure will support the source-to-settle initiative with staff focus on specific commodities through any procurement effort,” Almond said. “While we continue to seek lowest cost of ownership for the University, the goal of continued and improved customer service further supports that effort."

Strategic Sourcing seeks to minimize the total cost of ownership by evaluating all costs incurred in the act of procuring and paying for the goods and services needed by the University. While vendor prices are often the focal point of a purchase, shipping, warranty, service levels and payment alternatives also have a substantial impact on the “total cost.” Other key costs, often overlooked, are the many costs across the University related to business processes, shopping for goods and services, and leveraging vendors with high-quantity orders. In the selection of vendor and the negotiation of services and costs, commodity expertise is provided by a key group of University “users” of the commodity, providing selection and performance criteria to assess vendor proposals.

In the first year of the University’s Strategic Sourcing initiative, more than $2.1 million, or about 14 percent, has been saved in the purchases of printers and copiers, office supplies, computer peripherals, desktop and laptop computer configurations, and a higher purchasing card rebate. Current major projects under way are scientific supplies, janitorial, and printing services.

Procurement Services continues to gather feedback and review processes and tools to simplify the procure-to-pay process. Catalogs will be added to BOILERMART as sourcing initiatives move forward. Questions about Procurement Services, catalogs and showcase providers may be directed to pshelpdesk@purdue.edu or to crconner@purdue.edu.

A search is under way to appoint a new director of Procurement Services.